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Ripples #25
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Ripples #25

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Compiled and Written by Lenny Giteck

Ripples artOprah Winfrey Proves It’s Never
Too Late to Learn How to Swim

It seems there is not much Oprah Winfrey can’t do. The many terms that describe her include talk-show host, actress, producer, publisher, entrepreneur and philanthropist. One label that apparently has not applied to her is swimmer — until now.

At the age of 57, Oprah is finally taking swimming lessons, proving that it’s never too late to learn. According to an article on, the megastar decided to take the plunge after looking through an issue of her own magazine.

The Web site reported that Oprah recetly wrote the following in her e-mail newsletter: “Over a year ago, I pulled a picture from O mag of a woman gliding through water. It was such a striking image of freedom and possibility, I put it on my vision board (which I’ve still not completed).

“Today, when I finished my swimming lesson, I passed the vision board lying on the table where it’s been since 2009. I had an ‘aha’ moment. I had just become that woman gliding through the water!”

According to Oprah’s e-newsletter message, learning to swim has added a deeper meaning to her life. “This I’ve known forever is the great metaphor of life,” she explained. “Move with the flow. Don’t fight the current. Resist nothing. Let life carry you. Don’t try to carry it. Sometimes we just have to be reminded. A swim lesson did it for me.”

Congratulations, Oprah! If you’re ever looking for a swim buddy, be sure to give Ripples a call.

Aquadettes: Exploring the Hardship,
Courage and Beauty of Growing Old

Speaking of aging and continuing to learn valuable lessons about life — including while in the water — the following comes from the Web site

From Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper, the duo collectively known as California Is a Place, comesAquadettes, a charming, 10-minute documentary that tells the story of 75-year-old Margo Bouer andthe synchronized swimming group that she has been a part of for over 15 years.

A former nurse, Bouer details the everyday challenges in her life caring for her husband, and herpersonal health challenges that led her to medical marijuana, which she calls “the difference betweenstaying alive and killing myself.” Harsh realities aside, watching the group of older women dressing upin brightly-colored swim outfits and joyously practicing their routine for hours a day is, at the end ofthe day, heartwarming.

All Ripples can add is to say this: If you don’t watch this touching documentary, you will be missinga wonderful experience.

Video: To view Aquadettes, click here.

Tram-pool-ine: Not a Great Idea

And now, thanks to the foolhardiness of youth, a moment of levity. Kids of all ages, do not try this at home!

Words of wisdom from Ripples: If the Lord had wanted to combine swimming pools and trampolines, He would have made water bouncy and enabled us to stand on it.

Video: To watch what not to do (, click here. Thank God it was a soft-sided pool!

Cheers! Brits Create New Ale
To Help Save Beloved Sea Pool

Following an announcement by the Cornwall Council in the U.K. that it will not continue funding the local Bude Sea Pool starting in 2012, an unusual method of raising money to keep the popular swimming facility open is being tried: selling a new, custom ale created specially for the cause.

Cornwall occupies the southwest tip of England and is home to some 540,000 residents. The area’s unique pool, which is approximately 290 feet by 140 feet, is located at Summerleaze Beach in north Cornwall and is partially man-made and partially natural.

The Web site noted that the pool “is used by locals and holidaymakers for swimming, kayakers practice their rolls in it and would-be surfers learn how to stand upright on their boards. It is topped up twice a day at high tide — one of very few tidal pools remaining in the U.K.”

According to the BBC, “For every bottle of the SOS (Save Our Sea Pool) ale brewed at the Keltek Brewery in Redruth, 20p [pence] will go to a campaign fund to keep [Bude] open.” The money is donated to a nonprofit community organization: Friends of Bude Sea Pool.

Ripples applauds the effort to save the pool — but considering what’s going on in several British cities at the moment, the good people of Cornwall might want to put the campaign on hold temporarily.

Photo: To see what the Bude poollooks like, click here.

Diana Nyad: A True Champion
Despite the Agony of Defeat

We conclude this installment of Ripples by saluting Diana Nyad, who was forced to give up her attempt to swim from Cuba to Key West, Fla., a few days ago. This, too, is a story about swimming and growing older. As explained, “At age 61, Nyad not only wanted to become the first person to make the Cuba-to-Key West crossing without a shark cage, she wanted to show what’s possible at her age.”

This was the second attempt by Nyad — a former world record-holding swimmer and longtime sports commentator — to swim from Cuba to Florida; her first effort, also unsuccessful, was 33 years ago at age 28. During this recent attempt, she was impeded by shoulder pain, an asthma attack and unexpectedly large ocean swells. By the time she left the water, she had swum 29 hours and completed 58 out of 111 miles. quoted Nyad as saying during a post-swim press conference: “I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed. It will take me awhile to grieve…I wanted to get there.” She also noted that she sought to make the crossing not only for the record but to remind herself to live life to its fullest. “As you get older, life goes by exponentially faster,” she said. “You get a shocking view of the finality of it all.”

Nyad had trained two years for this swim. Althoughshe didn’t accomplish her goal, Ripples considers her to be an even greater champion than ever. As an open lesbian, Nyad has long been a hero and role model for the nation’s LGBT community. As a 61-year-old who gave her latest attempt to swim the Florida Straits her best shot, she should be a hero in the eyes of all Americans.

Diana, we salute you!

Video: To watch a clip of Diana Nyad speaking about her second attempt to swim the Florida Straits, click here.

Until next time…happy watershaping to you!


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